The Herdwick Experience is set to appear in ITV’s flagship Sunday morning show, Love Your Weekend, presented by Britain’s favourite horticulturist, presenter, and author Alan Titchmarsh.
The primetime morning show will pay a visit to Yew Tree Farm, Coniston, an iconic Lakeland hill farm, once owned by Beatrix Potter, from 9.30am on Sunday 16th October, to find out why it’s gaining a new reputation as the perfect place to hug a Herdwick.
Synonymous with the Lake District, this native sheep breed is hugely friendly, massively curious and totally enigmatic, as viewers will discover when they meet the hill farm’s ‘Ambassador Flock’ for themselves when the show joins participants as they embark on one of the farm’s ‘Herdwick Experiences.’
Yew Tree’s ‘Herdwick Experiences’ are part of a growing list of business diversification initiatives based at the farm introduced by Jo and Jon Watson. The farm is also home to a wedding business, an onsite butchery and farm shop, Jo’s art business and a holiday letting cottage, all of which helps with the upkeep and maintenance of the historic site.
The latest addition to the business all started because the couple had several unusually friendly sheep in their flock, who just seemed to crave human company. Jo inevitably became very attached to these curious individuals and invited several friends round to share the experience in the beautiful surroundings of the farm’s ‘home fields.’
Afterwards they told their friends and unsurprisingly word quickly got round, until the entire thing spiralled, and people started offering to pay. In the end Jo found it was taking up lots of her time, so she took the bold step and decided to start running ‘Herdwick Experiences‘ full-time. With the result that visitors to the farm can now meet these guardians of the fells face to face.
But that’s not all, Jo has also discovered that these naturally curious sheep also have an incredibly calming effect on people, which is why she’s found that increasingly she is being approached by a range of charities and organisations providing therapy and assistance to a wide range of people.
Jo McGrath, founder of Yew Tree Farm’s Herdwick Experience, explains: “Hopefully viewers will get a sense of what this landscape is about and the part we play in maintaining it. The entire idea behind the Herdwick Experience is to educate people about the Herdwick breed and to hopefully give them a little glimpse into the workings of traditional hill farms like ours. Letting them know how we work with this landscape and how we are making the most of the opportunities that the farm presents us with. Opportunities that help ensure that we can develop and maintain a viable business for the future, and keep our farming traditions alive, which has become increasingly difficult in recent years. All of which naturally helps farms like ours contribute to the maintenance of the Lakeland landscape that people know and love.”